What is a Muckraker?

"We muckraked not because we hated our world but because we loved it.” – Ray Stannard Baker

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”26476″ img_size=”medium”][vc_column_text]

The term “muckraker” became popular in the early 1900s to describe reform-minded journalists who exposed social injustices and corrupt politicians. One of the first muckrakers, Julius Chambers, admitted himself into a mental institution to uncover the mistreatment of patients, leading to massive reforms for the mentally ill.

Other muckrakers at the time uncovered dangerous working conditions, child labor, chronic poverty, institutional racism, abusive corporations and political corruption.

One of the most famous muckrakers was Upton Sinclair, whose grueling portrayal of the meat-packing industry raised the standards for food safety and workplace conditions.

President Theodore Roosevelt popularized the term “muckraker” during a 1906 speech when he suggested investigative reporting was “indispensable to the well being of society, but only they know when to stop raking the muck.”

Investigative reporters proudly adopted the label.

Today, the term “muckraker” has become synonymous with investigative journalism.